In every of our outdoor yoga classes, even in the acroyoga workshops in Barcelona beach, we have some minutes at the beginning and at the end for taking awareness of the body anf bringing the focus to the breath.
Usually in the classes we give different poses options for this shorts meditations, but there are handfull more of posibilities. This is why we listed down below all the meditations poses that can help you if you are new into the meditation world or even if you are already a experienced practicioner, you will find new ones.
As in yoga, there are different kinds of variations for the poses. In this case, there are no more advanced or beginners meditation poses, since the goal of meditation isn't to be in a full lotus or sitting in a chair. The more advanced meditation pose is inside of you, it doesn't matter how your physically body is located in the room, the most important is how focused is your mind.
Even thought depending on your body, there are some meditations poses that can help you to forget your body and any physical interference with your thoughts.
Down below are different meditations poses, don't get overwehlmed by the different posibilities. Just try the one that better fits for you and with the time you may find differets poses comfortable for your meditations.
Classical crossed-legged seated (Burmese): this is the more usual way for the not so flexible people. Alternatives would be to be seating on a block, so that the spine is even straighter. In case of knee pain, it is possible as well to place some blocks below the knees to support them.
Half lotus: bend your right knee and hug your knee to your chest. Bring your right ankle to the crease of your left hip, so the sole of your right foot faces the sky. Your foot top should rest on your hip crease. Bend your left knee and cross your left ankle under your right knee. Every side of the body have different flexibility, even though change the side from time to time, so that your body keeps balanced. This pose may feel harder than the one before, but try every a bit, even if it is just for a minute and then change to your normal seating pose.
Full lotus: follow the steps from half lotus and then take your left foot and place i ton your right thigh as close as possible to your right hip crease. Try to align your heels with your hip joints while keeping your ankles straight. This pose recquires more flexibility than the half lotus, so don't jump into the pose. Practices and warm up with half lotus and when you body is ready go for the full lotus.
Seiza (traditional formal way of sitting in Japan): kneeling with the legs folded underneath the thighs and the buttocks resting on the heels, with ankles turned outward. Alternatives here are to sit on one or even two blocks, and as the flexibility of the knee joints improve, you can start to use on block less or even sit on the floor.
Sitting on a chair with the back supported: sit on a normal chair, that means your feet are completlly on the floor and your knees are 90º degrees bend. Avoid any chair that makes your feet fly. Your hip joint should be as well a 90º line and you back completelly straight and supported by the chair, the backrest should be until your shoulderblades.
Sitting on the border of a chair: same procedure as before, but in this case your back isn't supported by the backrest. Be sure that your back has a completelly straight line otherwise remain with the previous one until you get comfortable with the pose.
Classical crossed-legged / half lotus / full lotus on a chair: these are a combination of the three first poses of the pose but sitting on a chair. You may use or not the back of the chair to support your back. As alternative there are some meditations chairs without chair legs. So that your spine is supoorted and your legs are in one of the previous variations on the floor.
Other things to consider in all your poses:
Spine: no matter which pose you choose from the previous ones, your spine should be always as straight as possible. Be aware of the position of your back through the practice and remind yourself to correct the posture. With every inhale lengthen your spine a bit more. As a trick you can imagine how the air enters through your nose, straight spine until the buttocks and how it comes slowly out the same way.
Shoulders: keep then in a comfortable position and relaxed, for this you can move them slightly back and down moving away from your ears. By doing this you will open your chest and get a stronger back. During the practice pay attention to your shoulders, how high or low they are and if they are at the same level.
Arms/hands: we will explain two different ways of placing arms and hands. We won’t enter into the detail of mudras for hands/fingers positioning. One possibility is to rest the hands on the thighs and palms facing down, this way you should feel more grounding and could help you to relax. The other possibility is to stack your hands in your lap with the palms facing up, traditionally the right hand is place on top of the left hand and the thumbs are gently touching.
Jaw: release as much as you can any tension in you jaw. In order to relax it, slowing down the swallowing process and clearing the breath you can slightly open your jaw with your tongue pressing against the roof of your mouth. Before the meditation you can move you jaw in a exaggerated way, like when actors are warming up, so that way you can release the tension accumulated in this area.
Chin: it should be slightly tucked in at the same time that is keeping the neck completely straight.
Gaze: there are different ways, but before you start the meditation practice decide which way you want so that you aren’t switching during the practice and disrupting your meditation flow. The easiest way at the beginning usually is with close eyes, avoid to squeeze with all your energy and instead close them softly to keep a relaxed face. A second way to gaze would be with the eyes slightly open, so that actually you aren’t able to distinguish what is in front of you, this way your concentration level needs to be higher. A third way to gaze is with open eyes, maintaining an unfocused gaze a few centimetres in front of you at floor level, trying not to squint.
We hope these guides will make your meditation practice more comfortable and easier, so that you can avoid to focus on the external things to your body and meditate only on your inner self, which is the real purpose of these practice. If you have any comments or questions, your comments are welcome down below.